Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has called for a halt to any plans by the government to deport a former Bangladesh high commissioner to his home country follow his arrest earlier this week, saying his status as a refugee precludes him from being repatriated regardless of why he was detained.
LFL head coordinator Zaid Malek also said Mohammmed Khairuzzaman should be released from custody and accorded the protection to which he is entitled as a political refugee.
“The government should be well aware that Malaysia is bound by the principle of non-refoulement, a key principle of international human rights law which prohibits the return of individuals to a country where they would face torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, or other irreparable harm,” he said.
“As a political refugee, there is no doubt that Khairuzzaman would face severe consequences if he is sent back to Bangladesh.”
Khairuzzaman was detained at his home in Ampang on Feb 9 and is reportedly expected to be sent back to Bangladesh.
Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin, who yesterday confirmed that Khairuzzaman had been detained, said his arrest was made in accordance with legal procedures.
“If there is a request from the country of origin that we feel has a basis, then we will make (arrest) and everything is done according to existing legal procedures,” he said.
But Zaid said in a statement that “credible international organisations” had recorded unlawful killings, disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention as well as political show trials ending in executions occurring on a regular basis in Bangladesh.
“Irrespective of the reason of arrest, which the home minister suspiciously refuses to disclose, Khairuzzaman’s refugee status must preclude him from being repatriated,” he said.
“Khairuzzaman must be released from custody immediately, and be accorded the protection he is entitled to as a political refugee.